Nichole Bennett

Nichole Bennett

Science Communication Researcher


The University of Texas at Austin


Your weaknesses can sometimes be your strengths, if you just know how to wield them.

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
When I was in primary school, I wanted to be a marine biologist and explore the unknown.
While in college, I knew I wanted to study biology. I wasn't sure whether I wanted to do medicine or biological research.
I did some summer internships studying fire ants (in South Carolina and Argentina) and birds (in India) and realized that I wanted to do ecological research.
Climate change was a big question in biology, so I set out to get my doctorate studying how butterflies are responding to climate change.
I suffered a lot in graduate school and had a really unsupportive advisor. I also realized I didn't really want to be a science researcher. I was much more interested in science communication.
I left with a Masters and worked out in the "real world" teaching kids and adults coding. I learned that I loved teaching. I also started doing improv and realized the big role creativity plays.
After talking with my current advisor, I realized I wanted to go back to school to study science communications and help training programs for scientists get better and better.
Keep following my journey

Education

High School
Lugoff-Elgin High School
Bachelor
Biology/Biological Sciences, General
Clemson University
Graduate
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
The University of Texas at Austin
Doctorate
Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication
The University of Texas at Austin

Career

Science Communication Researcher

I help scientists become better at talking about their research.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Science
Acting & Theatre
Communicating / Sharing Stories

Day to Day

I take classes and teach classes to learn communication theories. I collect data from surveys and interviews from scientists. I analyze this data using statistics and programming. I communicate this research to other scientists and to the public. I also teach scientists improv to help them learn how to be better communicators.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Being a good collaborator and communicator, being a keen observer of data, being curious and asking questions, being resilient and not giving up, understanding that mistakes are part of the process.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Read all you can about the topic (science communication) and pay attention to how you feel when you read about it. Are you bored? Are you excited? Are you so curious that you come up with new questions to ask? These feelings are a good guide as to whether this is for you or not. Also, getting good at looking for patterns in data and interviewing people will give you good practice for the type of work you'l be doing.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Biology/Biological Sciences, General
graduate
Graduate
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
doctorate
Doctorate
Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Teachers:

"While working to becoming a biology researcher, I heard that I didn't have the focus for a scientist. I was too interested in combining other fields with science, like doing a science radio show or producing an outdoor lecture series. "